Local News

Wednesday, Sep 25 2013 02:24 PM

'First Look': Police chief talks prison realignment, new bike law

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    Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson talks about prison realignment and other matters on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson continued to talk about the impact of prison realignment Wednesday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Williamson is concerned about inmates getting out of prison or jail before they should simply because of space issues.

He said he hopes Gov. Jerry Brown will reconsider moving prisoners out of state.

"The prisoners' attorneys said we shouldn't move them away from their family because their families wouldn't be able to visit them," Williamson said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox said the inmates should have thought about their families before committing felonies such as murder or robbery.

The BPD recently received a $50 million state grant, but Williamson said that money doesn't go toward hiring more officers. The majority of the money goes to mental health programs, enhancing police mapping, new equipment and other prevention efforts, he said.

Williamson said about 40 to 50 new police trainees will be in the March police academy, but that's still not enough to keep up with the community's growth.

"The city continues to grow so we have to keep up in law enforcement numbers," Williamson said, adding the department has about 389 policemen.

In other matters, the governor on Monday signed a bill requiring drivers to give bicyclists three feet of clearance when passing. Williamson said that will be hard to enforce.

"I appreciate the intent, but will we have to equip our officers with yard sticks to measure three feet?" Williamson asked.

Williamson noted that accidents between cars and bicycles have increased in the past few months. He advice to drivers? Pay attention to your surroundings and slow down.


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